Each year, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) and its partner fire agency Country Fire Authority (CFA) work together to help protect Victorian communities from bushfires.
As part of this protection, both agencies conduct planned burning; FFMVic on public lands, and CFA brigades on behalf of private landowners or managers of other reserves such as roads and rail corridors, council reserves and water authority land.
Sometimes, the two agencies will work together deliver particular planned burns, and often run joint training courses, like the Planned Burns Operations Officer course for crews from both organisations.
This year, CFA has been able to assist FFMVic with at least eight planned burns across the state.
Jillian Gallucci, Regional Fuel Management Coordinator for DEECA’s Port Phillip Region said there were many reasons the two agencies supported each other.
‘We might need extra tanker capacity at the burn, or their skills, expertise, or specialised resources,’ Jillian said of the partnership with CFA.
‘The sharing of resources at planned burns is also about building relationships, capacity building and exposure to planned burning for CFA crews and inviting them along to be involved in fire management activities within their brigade area.’
CFA has been involved in a couple of planned burns in the Port Phillip region this autumn.
‘CFA is known in the community and is always a great help when we are burning close to private properties,’ Jillian said.
‘It gives that added reassurance and confidence to the community.
‘We delivered a particularly difficult and complex planned burn on Mount Dandenong a few years ago where we assigned CFA an Asset Protection Sector.
‘They were able to gain access to each of the private properties that bordered the area we were burning so that they could patrol and make sure no embers landed and took hold.
‘The CFA fuel management program is often driven by local communities and as a result, has positive flow-on effects for communities in understanding their own bushfire risk and the role fire can play in reducing risks and maintaining ecosystems.'
And it is not all one-sided; the CFA sometimes requests FFMVic crews to attend their planned burns. This is often for particular skills sets such as the use of FFMVic’s Tree Hazard Assessors.
‘The CFA crews are volunteers, so we really appreciate them helping out with our burns.’ Jillian said.
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